Tyres are one of
the most critical components of motor vehicles. Vehicle stability and safety
can deteriorate significantly from sudden failure or blowout of vehicle tyres.
A tyre burst can be a scary experience, especially if you are driving at high
speed. As temperatures rise during
the summer months, the danger of tyre bursts significantly increases risks to
the safety of the driver, passengers and other road users. Understanding the
reasons behind tyre bursts and taking preventive measures can help ensure a
safe and smooth driving experience. Below are some of the reasons for tyre
bursts during the summer season. We are also sharing some tyre burst preventive strategies:
temperatures: excessive heat directly affects the tyre’s rubber
compound, making it more susceptible to failure. Excessive heat can weaken the
tyre structure, leading to higher chances of tyre bursts.
In the picture, a Traffic Safety Council of
Zimbabwe campaign team conscientizes a motorist on road safety along
Harare-Chivhu during the 2023 Heroes and Defence Forces holiday.
v Age of
the tyres: the age of the tyres plays a significant role in their
durability. Over time, the rubber compounds in tyres deteriorates, becoming
less flexible and prone to cracks. Older tyres are more likely to fail under
excessive heat, especially if they have not been properly maintained.
proper tyre pressure is important for safe driving. During the summer season,
excessive heat causes the air inside the tyre to expand, increasing the
pressure. If the tyres are already overinflated or if the pressure is not
regularly checked, the excessive heat can push them beyond their limits,
leading to a tyre burst. If you are driving on an under-inflated tyre, this
will cause the tyre to bounce up and down, and additional friction will be
created. Such additional friction and the heat of the summer season can weaken
the tyres and cause them to burst. Make sure your tyres are properly inflated. Check tyres when they are cool for the most accurate readings,
because air pressure in a tyre goes up in warm weather just after use. You
should also make sure you follow the recommended tyre pressure for
your vehicle. This information is found on the vehicle placard, usually
found inside the vehicle door, and in the owner’s manual.
speed for long durations: continuous high-speed driving generates
additional heat, putting excessive strain on the tyres. This prolonged
excessive heat exposure can weaken the tyre structure and increase the
likelihood of a tyre bursting. Avoid speeding. Lower speeds
put less pressure on the tyres and therefore reduce damage, while speeding for
prolonged periods on hot roads will increase the temperature and friction.
the picture, a Traffic Safety Educator disseminates road safety information to
a driver along the Masvingo – Beitbridge road during the festive season
campaign last year. Drivers were urged to avoid speeding.
tyres may have weak spots or structural weaknesses that make them more prone to
tyre bursting, especially when exposed to high temperatures. Regularly
inspecting tyres for any signs of defects is crucial for preventing road
traffic accidents. Any damage to the tyre, such as cuts and punctures,
compromises its structural integrity. When these damages go unnoticed or are
left unaddressed, they can worsen over time. The excessive heat in summer
exacerbates the weakening process, increasing the likelihood of a sudden tyre
burst. Regularly check the tyre tread for uneven areas, excessive wear and
foreign objects, and be sure to also check the tyre walls for any bulges,
gouges, cuts or deep abrasions. Any wear on the tyre surface may indicate
a problem with the vehicle, which may have nothing to do with the
tyre. For example, you could have a suspension problem. If noticed
early enough, you may stop an accident caused by a component failure. It
could also be something as simple as the balance and alignment on the
wheels, which can be fixed easily.
common cause of tyre bursts is overloading. When the load on a tyre exceeds its
maximum limit, the tyre becomes strained and vulnerable to bursting,
particularly in hot weather conditions.
tyre fitting: improper installation or fitting of tyres is very
dangerous. When tyres are not correctly aligned or balanced, they undergo
uneven wear and tear, making them more prone to bursting. It is crucial to
ensure that tyres are fitted correctly by a professional to avoid risks to the
driver and other road users’ safety.
are some of the important things that a driver may do if the tyre bursts:
v Keep calm: Do not panic.
Panicking may lead you to losing control of the vehicle.
v Avoid heavy braking: although
impulsively, the driver may want to immediately brake, this can result in loss
of control of the vehicle. It is advisable to put on hazard lights so that
other road users are aware there is a problem.
v Do not
release the accelerator suddenly: Begin to slow down and
down-shift through the gears, but do this gradually.
v Grip your steering wheel firmly: Ensure
you grip your steering wheel tightly with both hands because your vehicle will
pull towards the direction of the damaged tyre. It may be tempting to turn the
steering wheel in the opposite direction, but this will only make the loss of
control more likely. Do your best to keep going straight ahead.
your car gradually slow down and finally come to a complete stop. On a
roadway, the obvious place to stop is the hard shoulder. In other places, it is
advisable to look out for stops like a shop car park or by the side of the road
where it is safe to do so.
v Replace your tyre: if you
have a spare tyre, as expected, you can change your tyre in a safe space.
Alternatively, you can seek roadside assistance. Remember to make use of
emergency breakdown reflective triangles.
Admittedly, having the right tyres and maintaining them
properly is crucial at any time of the year, but it is particularly
important during the summer months as the hot roads can interfere with the
rubber compound of the tyres. The scorching summer weather exacerbates heat
build-up and weakens the rubber compound of the tyres, and will
potentially cause them to burst. In other words, when the
temperature increases, you are more likely to have a blowout. It is
indeed, important to keep an eye on the vehicle tyres. A small mistake can
result in loss of precious lives.
Inserted by TSCZ, Operations Research and Marketing
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